We know with greater certainty than ever before that Americans with fewer years of education have poorer health and shorter lives. In fact, since the 1990s, life expectancy has fallen for people without a high school education, a decrease that is especially pronounced among White women.
Why is the link between education and health more distinct today? In the current knowledge economy, education paves a clear path to good jobs and a steady income. Completing more years of education creates better access to health insurance, medical care, and the resources to live a healthier lifestyle.
This brief and video are products of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health’s Education and Health Initiative, a program to raise awareness about the links between education and health. This is the first in a series of four briefs that will explain these complex connections, discuss the role of health care reform, and demonstrate why investing in education can cut health care costs.